Air to Surface

Parker Ito + Helen Johnson


Los Angeles

May 24, 2013 — July 6, 2013

PRISM is pleased to announce Air to Surface, an exhibition of new work by Parker Ito and Helen Johnson. An opening reception will be held at the gallery from 7-9pm on Friday, May 24 and the exhibition will run through to July 6.

Both Ito and Johnson push against questions of gesture and transmission, aesthetic theatricality, myths surrounding meaning, image as artifact, the efficacy of expression through media and how painting navigates technology. While the artists produced these series of paintings independently of each other, their presentation within the exhibition is interspersed, to encourage a concurrent reading of their work. Within this congress, the artists impress questions upon each other, so that mutual impulses and conflicts are extracted through proximity within the space of the exhibition.

Ito’s paintings in Air to Surface approximate the method of operation of an inkjet printer, covering a surface in dots of color that overlap to produce an image. He sites pointillism and pixels as aesthetic prompts, but unlike pixels and the marks made to produce pointillist paintings, Ito’s single dots do not aggregate to form a figurative subject. The image he produces is ultimately an abstract, continuous image spread across multiple works. As in his previous exhibitions, the flows and fissions of information and representation induced by the asymmetry of the Internet remain crucial, but the model of an inkjet printer allows a more extensive history of reproduction and display to be acknowledged.

Johnson’s works are built from layers of abstraction, figuration, language and glyphs. Each has a catalytic piece of information or phenomenon as a starting point, which she elaborates into a pictorial space. In the initial painting of this series, Johnson lays emoticons over sweeping, gestural strokes of paint. This synergy, between digital glyphs used to consolidate emotions and the expressive potency of abstraction, forms a thesis about the reification of thought and feeling across various visual techniques, whether on the surface of a painting or the touch-screen of a phone.